Texas A&M (5-1) at Houston (5-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 1, 6:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hofheinz Pavilion (8,479) -- Houston, Texas. Television: FSN. Home Record: TAMU 4-0, Houston 3-0. Away Record: TAMU 0-0, Houston 2-1. Neutral Record: TAMU 1-1, Houston 0-0. Conference Record: TAMU 0-0, Houston 0-0. Series Record: Houston leads 53-30.
GAMES NOTES: A pair of Lone Star State foes will collide on Saturday at Hofheinz Pavilion, when the Texas A&M Aggies call on the Houston Cougars.
The Aggies are 5-1 through their first six games after taking home consecutive wins for the second time this season with a 78-65 win over Northwestern State at home in its last outing. Before that the Aggies had been locked up in the CBE Classic in Kansas City where they split decisions against Saint Louis (70-59 loss) and Washington State (55-54 win). Texas A&M will take on another instate opponent next time it hits the court against Stephen F. Austin.
On the other side Houston also sports a 5-1 record, although the Cougars are coming off that first loss. The Cougars lost to Prairie View A&M 81-80 on a last-second foul shot to end a five-game winning streak they had to open the season. Houston also faces another team from within the state next time out against TCU before a six-game homestand that will carry the Cougars into the new year.
This is the first meeting between these squads since 2004 when Texas A&M handed Houston a 93-80 defeat at Reed Arena in College Station. Even with that win the Aggies still trail the all-time series 53-30.
Suffocating defense and hot shooting keyed the Aggies to their win over Northwestern State. The Aggies shot 56.1 percent overall in the game and nailed 7-of-14 shots from beyond the arc, while holding Northwestern State to 32.8 percent shooting including a 7-of-29 effort in the first half. The teams were even in turnovers (13-13) and rebounds (37-37). Elston Turner led the scoring with 17 points, while also handing out four assist.
On the season the Aggies are scoring 69.5 points per game and shooting 46.5 percent from the floor. On the other end the Aggies surrender only 62.0 points a contest, while limiting opponents to less than 40.0 percent shooting (39.6). The offense runs through the backcourt, with the combination of Elston Turner and J'Mychal Reese facilitating and scoring. Turner (15.7 ppg, 3.7 apg) is both the top scorer and assist man on the squad, while Reese (7.3 ppg, 3.5 apg) serves primarily to set up his teammates. Ray Tuner (12.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and Fabyon Harris (10.8 ppg) are also double figure-scorers, while Kourtney Roberson (6.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg) leads the team on the glass.
It was a tight ball game for Houston against Prairie View A&M as the Cougars trailed for most of the second half but never by more than seven points. With 21 seconds remaining they got a 3-pointer from Jherrod Stiggers to pull even at 80-80 but Carl Blair was fouled on the other end and hit one free throw. Houston had a chance to win it but Joseph Young's last-second shot was off the mark. The loss wasted a 23-point, 11-rebound double-double from TaShawn Thomas.
Houston has been scoring at a very high level this season, ranking 11th nationally in points per game (84.7), while hitting on a respectable 46.8 percent from the field. Led by Thomas, the team has also managed to haul in 45.0 rebounds per game, the sixth best mark in the nation. Thomas (18.3 ppg, 11.7 rpg) is one of few players in the country for whom a double-double is expected from every night. He scores efficiently (50.5 FG percentage) and also protects the rim, blocking 2.3 shots per game. Despite missing that final shot, Young (15.2 ppg, 3.2 apg) is still scoring well for the Cougars, as are Stiggers (13.3 ppg) and Danuel House (11.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg).
While this should be a solid matchup, the edge goes to Houston with its ability to put up points in bunches and control the glass.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Houston 81, Texas A&M 75
12/01 10:37:47 ET